I don’t remember when I started playing basketball. I was probably in middle school. I fell into the sport mostly because my brother started playing it. One thing led to the next and twenty years later I’m still playing the game, albeit just recreationally.
Was I ever any good at it? That is an interesting question. I am fortunate enough to be a reasonably tall human being—190cm or 6ft 2.5inches for the Americans out there—and I always played sports so I’m fairly athletic. If you ask me I’d say I was decent. If you ask the same question to the people who grew up with me thought, you’d probably get a different answer.
I lost count of the times someone asked me why I never decided to try play at a higher level. A lot of people were convinced that I had both the potential and the athleticism to play at a reasonably decent pro level. I thought differently.
Now you might be wondering: why didn’t you try? That would be a reasonable question to ask. The simple answer is that I didn’t care about playing pro sport. I started playing for fun and never cared about the competitive aspect. Competing in general is not something I’m interested in. So that’s it. I didn’t play pro sport because I was not interested in the competitive aspect of it. That’s your answer.
But is it the real answer though? I mean, it is my answer. If you ask me that’s the answer I’d give you. But is it possible that the answer I have is not the right answer? Is it possible for me to not fully understand myself?
Since I was very young I’ve always been a very quiet and somewhat reserved person. I don’t like to be at the center of attention, I don’t like to be put under the spotlight, even if it’s for something positive. And this is not some twisted way to be humble. I just don’t like it. I very much prefer to live in the shadow. I don’t need the spotlight. But why is that? Is that just who I am? Is that just a trait of my personality? Or maybe it’s just a self-defence mechanism because deep down I am scared of the consequences?
This is something I started to think about more and more lately. Maybe the reason why I never went into competitive sport is not because I didn’t care about the competitive aspect but because I was scared of failing at it. Maybe that’s also why I attended a very easy high school or why I dropped out of University.
This was a somewhat painful realization. Because once the self doubt machine is set into motion, stopping it is extremely hard. And it’s also something that usually spirals down and permeates every corner of your persona.
I don’t think I am very good at what I do. And I mean it. I’m not saying it because I’m trying to be humble. I genuinely believe that I’m not particularly good at what I do. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I suck and I’m the worst at it. I’m just saying that I’m not very good. There’s countless better developers out there, or better designers, or better bloggers. I think I am meh at best. But again, is that because I’m objectively assessing the value of my work and my skills? Or is it because by seeing myself as not that good I can shield myself from the scrutiny that comes with thinking that I am in fact good? To that I don’t have an answer.
What I do know, is that self doubt is hard to deal with. Especially when a part of you is convinced that the other people don’t really know you and so they can’t really judge for who you really are. “If they only knew what I know...”
What’s the point in writing all this? Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe a part of me is trying to accept this as the reality and writing about it is a way to cope with this issue. Or maybe it’s just an attempt to find some clarity. I genuinely don’t know. What I do know is that I’ve been thinking about writing this post for months and always postponed it. And that’s because it’s a depressing post frankly. Also because I don’t like when people worry about me. But deep down I know it’s a healthy thing for me to write this publicly rather than keeping it all in for myself. Because you know you need to do something once you start doubting if it’s even worth for you to be here to begin with. That’s never a good thing.
My apology if this post is a bit rambly. Also sorry if there are typos. I’m typing this on my phone with a raging thunderstorm outside my window. That’s always fun.